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Irresistible Bliss

4.4 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Irresistible Bliss, album No. 2, takes the band several steps further: at once tighter and more personal, displaying the band's intuitive rapport as players and neatly balancing the eccentric and the accessible. Soul Coughing have attracted wall-to-wall praise from the likes of Rolling Stone ("brilliant" and "four stars"), Entertainment Weekly ("The most affecting rock-funk fusion since Talking Heads"), The New Yorker ("One of the best records of 1994") and Alternative Press ("Either hopelessly smug bastards...or some of the most profound musicians to emerge from Clinton America").

Amazon.com

For a group that exudes so much intelligence and sophistication, Soul Coughing make incredibly intuitive music. The New York foursome gets pinned for its downtown neo-beat poetry shtick, but even M. Doughty, the group's acid-tongued lyricist, will tell you it's really all about the vibe, not the verse: the true leaders are the guys bringing up the rear. Sebastian Steinberg's loping upright bass and Yuval Gabay's precision drums, which form a live hip-hop/jazz-rock base, make Soul Coughing's second album, Irresistible Bliss, even sharper and more rhythmically confident than their 1994 debut, Ruby Vroom. Inverting George Clinton's maxim, Soul Coughing's operating principle seems to be "Free your ass and your mind will follow." As on Ruby Vroom, Doughty's vocals (increasingly dynamic) and Mark De Gli Antoni's keyboard sampler (increasingly focused) form the icing on Irresistible Bliss's groove-filled cake. But like the bass and drums, the voice and sampler work on a subconscious level. Neither conveys concrete meaning so much as it regurgitates data. Like a television set that plays down the hall while you drift off to sleep, Soul Coughing transmit repeated and recontextualized cliches as if they were information-age mantras, and collide those with door squeaks, elephant sounds, and Raymond Scott cartoon music to form a blanket of pop-cultural white noise. If Irresistible Bliss is less referentially hip-hop and (therefore) more song-oriented than the previous album, it's just as enthusiastically geometric--not to mention funky. Or, to transpose Clinton again: Who says a rock band can't play funk?--Roni Sarig
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 9, 1996)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Warner Bros / Wea
  • ASIN: B000002N56
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57,878 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This album was one that gave me hope for contemporary music. I first heard of Soul Coughing through a giveaway cassette a few years back. It had "Super Bon-Bon" and "Soundtrack to Mary" on it, and those two songs were the first ones I'd heard in years that made me sit up and wonder "Wow, who the hell are they? " A year later, "Irresistable Bliss" hit my CD deck and rarely left it.
Soul Coughing was a band chock full of the rarest talent I have ever seen. Doughty's writing is glib yet powerful, emotional yet aloof, and constantly cryptic and captivating. The sound of Sebastian Steinberg's upright bass blends beautifully with Yuval Gabay's offbeat drumming and Mark De Gli Antoni's arful sample work.
"Super Bon-Bon" is the leadoff booty-shaker, the song that shot SC into the mainstream. My personal favorite track is "Lazybones", a simply beautiful song in all senses. There's not a bad song on this album, but the best ones are "Soft Serve", "Sleepless", "The Idiot Kings", "How Many Cans" and "Collapse". Each song is rife with originality, verve, wit and overall artistry.
This was the first Soul Coughing CD I bought, and it was the one that hooked me in and dug into my brain. I would be hard-pressed to say that any of their three albums are the "best" album, as they are all amazing and captivating in different ways. Ruby Vroom is more playful, Irresistable Bliss is more poppy and bass-y, and El Oso is beat-driven and funky. All are outstanding.
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Format: Audio CD
I only wish I could give it six stars. Actually, I received this CD as a gift for Christmas one year, and it sat on my shelf for a year before I listened to it again one more time before I was going to trade it in. Yes, Soul Coughing are not what they seem to be for the uninitiated. If you want to catch Soul Catching at their peak, get Irresistable Bliss! If you're used to straightforward, simple rock 'n' roll, these guys will take some getting used to. But once you catch Soul Coughing Fever, you can't stop listening! The rhythms and how they are put together serve as a solid foundation for the music. That, and some of the funniest, catchy, but cryptic lyrics, make these guys SPECIAL. Sure, I think that their first effort, Ruby Vroom, was even funnier, with really sharp, hilarious wit brilliantly served up by the vocalist Mark Dougherty. It was a wonderfully campy effort, with just enough of the feel of an indie, underground effort. The sonics, and tighter, boppier jazzy sound of Irresistable Bliss, however, make it the musically superior record. Even the polished El Oso (their most recent release) falls short of Irresistable Bliss in my humble opinion. That, and it's the least funny of the three... Soul Coughing is special, more of a phenomenon than an artist, group, or bunch of guys with instruments. At their best, they can seamlessly blend intelligent, catchy lyrics with intelligent, catchy music in a manner and combination that can only be called sublime. I can't think of anyone quite like them. And to think that I almost missed out. If you want to catch Soul Coughing at their peak, you need to listen to Irresistable Bliss!
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Format: Audio CD
This CD is four years old, but it is STILL in heavy rotation in my CD player. Why? Because it still sounds as fresh and innovative as it did back then. With the first couple of listens, you won't be sure quite what to make of this group. The music is, in turn, rocking, rollicking, soulful and witty. I was not blown away initially, which I now blame on my own inability at the time to process the brillinace of this work (the same reaction I had to Radiohead). Now, I can't get enough of it.
The funk, rock and punk influences on Soul Coughing are immediately evident, but closer examination revelas traces of classic folk music and bluegrass. You will also be blown away by the lyrics, not just in their intelligence, but also in the wordplay.
It's difficult to name a favorite song from the album, because I firmly believe it should be listened to in its entirety. In stark contrast to much of the pop music being recorded today, this CD is more than just a collection of unrelated songs; it is a coherent story. That said, "4 Out Of 5," "Super Bon Bon," "Soundtrack to Mary" and "Disseminated" stand out as extraordinary songs.
Finally, it's nice to see that the Slash record label is still capable of finding and producing good artists. This was the original label of The Violent Femmes, The Germs, Los Lobos, The Blasters and others. Glad to see they haven't lost their touch since the acquisition by Warner Bros.
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Format: Audio CD
This album is just great. Every single song is worth listening to. It's full of catchy lyrics and tunes you'll find yourself humming for months after even a couple of listens. Of course there's the obvious "Super Bon-Bon" with its lyrics "Move aside and let the man come through" (which when I'm driving late at night I often change to "Move aside and let the van come through"), and Soul Coughing has this great ability to shift tempos and sounds at a moment's notice but in a very natural way which this song exemplifies. Of course "Soft Serve" is just a great grooving song with a beat that just kind of makes you want to kick back. Then there is the rock kicking anthem of "White Girl" which I find myself screaming randomly every now and then. Then cool it off again with "Soundtrack to Mary", and who can forget "Lazybones". Overall a great CD with a truly innovative and awesome sound, it may take a couple of listens but when you finally start feeling yourself repeating lyrics you'll know you're hooked. I like this CD so much I actually bought it twice, I lost one copy and just couldn't go without it.
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